Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012

Battle of the Genres: Traditional Hymns and Christian Contemporary

Apparently there is an ongoing war that we in the Christian world know little about . . . the battle between die-hard traditional hymn enthusiasts and the younger generation who can just “feel” their Christian faith better in Christian contemporary music. There are some who feel that contemporary tunes just are not “orthodox” and are downright unhelpful. It seems that if you like one genre you cannot tolerate the other, and vice versa.

I am one who believes it is the message that matters. If a song has faulty theology, be it a hymn or a contemporary tune, it should be discarded. I do, however, personally enjoy Christian contemporary for a variety of reasons, first because it holds great memories, and second because the “mood” has shifted, and young adults singing to God with tunes, chords, and music styles they are familiar with is easier to “swallow.” These songs make us feel excited and enthusiastic about and proud of our faith, whereas the older generations are more comfortable with the hymns they learned at church at their mother’s knee. Of course, in some cases, it is the opposite, with younger people enjoying the hymns and older people finding some Christian contemporary music to which they can relate.

Basically, any music that praises God, is not obscene, has good theology and a good message, and is “palatable” (i.e. many of us cannot tolerate hard rock / death metal / excessive rap, though of course there are some who enjoy it) should be treated with respect. That aside, I never liked many of the “traditional hymns.” I could not relate to the slow, often mournful tunes and thought of that genre as something I could never “get into.” 

Yet in the last few years, when I have begun to joyously praise my Protestant faith and thus my Protestant heritage, I became interested in the hymns that my faithful ancestors sang and knew so well. The old-time men and women were so much closer to the forebears who fought, bled and died for the beliefs that were the core of their lives.  They understood how to evoke those reverent Gospel truths. One of my current favorites is “He Arose.” The chorus is so joyful! And so I, the self-proclaimed lover of Christian contemporary music, found some roots in the hymns of old as well . . .

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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